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Nasser Al-Attiyah wins 2022 Dakar Rally

Nasser Al-Attiyah has won the Dakar Rally for the fourth time. It was his first triumph in Saudi Arabia. For Toyota it was the second victory in this marathon classic. After twelve stages, Al-Attiyah was 27:46 minutes ahead of Sebastien Loeb (BRX). Local hero Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Toyota) was third.

The twelfth and last stage from Bisha to Jeddah was 164 kilometers short. Henk Lategan (Toyota) secured the day’s win. Al-Attiyah lost five and a half minutes to Loeb. That didn’t change anything in the end result.

A preliminary decision had already been made during the first long stage. While many riders struggled at one point for a long time, Al-Attiyah and Loeb got through easily and pulled away from the rest of the field.

Al-Attiyah led the overall standings after all twelve days. Only in the eighth stage there were technical problems. The differential suffered damage and Al-Attiyah only had to drive in front-wheel drive. Otherwise, the veteran managed his lead with ease.

Loeb had trouble for two days. In stage three, his differential broke. And the French lost a lot of time in the sixth stage as well. At half-time in the rally, he was 50 minutes behind.

In the second week of the Dakar, Loeb Al-Attiyah steadily closed in, but not close enough to apply any pressure. Al-Attiyah managed his time cushion and didn’t have to take any chances. After 2011 with Volkswagen, 2015 with X-raid Mini and 2019 with Toyota, he claimed his fourth victory.

“It’s a great feeling. Thanks to everyone who supports us around the world. We’re very happy. It was incredible,” were Al-Attiyah’s first words. He is now level with Ari Vatanen. Only Stephane Peterhansel is more successful with eight wins in the cars.

“It was very difficult to manage. The second week was not easy. Normally I drive at the maximum. This time I had to slow down. You have to respect the Dakar. I had a good lead. Even before the rally I said that there was a duel with Seb.”

Sebastien Loeb satisfied with his performance

For record world rally champion Loeb, second place was his third podium finish at the Dakar Rally. Prodrive made it onto the podium on the second try. Loeb is now heading back to Europe. Next weekend he will drive the Monte Carlo Rally with M-Sport Ford.

“I feel good and I think we drove a very good rally,” says Loeb. “We had problems at the beginning, but then it was a good rally. No mistakes, good navigation and we always attacked. We couldn’t have done better. The gap was too big.”

Al-Rajhi caused a lot of celebration with his third place. For the first time a local rider stood on the podium in Saudi Arabia. It was the best result to date for Al-Rajhi, who also has a WRC past.

Only Toyota and BRX could be found in the first five places. Orlando Terranova (BRX) captured his best career result with fourth place. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) crossed the finish ramp in fifth place.

Co-driver Timo Gottschalk the best German

The best German was Timo Gottschalk. Jakub Przygonski’s co-driver was pleased with sixth place. The duo drove the Mini Buggy, which has won in the past two years. Compared to the new regulations of T1+ and T1U, the car is no longer competitive.

“After fourth place last year there could only be one goal: the podium,” says Gottschalk. “When setting the course, we had to decide early on which material we were going to use – i.e. which car.”

“In retrospect, however, we have to recognize that the new cars had a big speed advantage under the T1+ regulations. That left us with the only option of staying constant and faultless every single day and delivering a solid result. That’s good for us on the whole and Whole also successful.”

“We worked our way up step by step, temporarily up to fourth place in the overall classification. In the end we were a bit unlucky, but – honestly – our direct competitors were superior due to the material, we couldn’t do anything about that.”

Audi with a total of four stage wins

Ultimately, the best Audi driver at the finish was Mattias Ekström, who made it into the top 10. Audi clinched a total of four stage victories with the new hybrid vehicle, thereby demonstrating the potential of this vehicle with a revolutionary drive.

In the first week, however, there were damper problems in the vehicles of Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz. The second week then went much better for Audi.

Final result after 12 stages (Top 10):

01. Al-Attiyah/Baumel (Toyota) – 38:33:03 hours
02. Loeb/Lurquin (BRX) +27:46 minutes
03. Al-Rajhi/Orr (Toyota) +1:01:13 hours
04. Terranova/Oliveras (BRX) +1:27:23
05. de Villiers/Murphy (Toyota) +1:41:48
06. Przygonski/Gottschalk (Mini Buggy) +1:53:06
07. Serradori/Minaudier (Century) +2:32:05
08. Halpern/Graue (Mini Buggy) + 2:38:26
09. Ekstrom/Bergkvist (Audi) +2:42:11
10. Zala/Fiuza (Mini 4×4) 3:31:55

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